August 1, 2013

Currently, a very small rented cottage with basement in Los Altos

We have a very special property for you today!  Burbed reader nomadic must have spied this one on the way back from a lunch meeting. So if you don’t like the very small rented cottage with basement, build something else and skip the kitchen. You won’t need it where we’re going.

130731-acacia-redfin962 ACACIA Ave
Los Altos, CA 94022
$750,000

1 Beds
1 Baths
300 Sq. Ft.
$2,500 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1948
Lot Size: 5,000 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 48 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
County: Santa Clara
Style: Cabin
Community: North Los Altos
MLS#: 81320950

Do not distrub occupants. Small north Los Altos lot 40X125, behind Chef Chu’s, Armadillo’s Willy’s. Currently, a very small rented cottage with basement. Value in the land. Access on Acacia and from the back alley behind restaurants.

130731-acacia-kitchenOh, did we mention where we’re going? It’s the Land of $2,500 a square foot. No wonder you can’t distrub occupants. Now, let’s check in with nomadic.

“Maybe a small home can be built.”  The realtard almost sounds wistful.  The lot is wedged between two parking lots; who in their right mind would want to build a house there?  A business wouldn’t be a practical idea though, because it would have to be quite small and not require more than a couple parking spots.

No more wistful realtard, as that last sentence seems to have been edited out (still on Zillow as we write this). Instead let’s be wistful about the photography.

130731-acacia-take-the-curtain130731-acacia-grounds130731-acacia-hot-water

Remember, Location, Location, Location!

130731-acacia-aerial

Right in the middle of everything, literally just steps away from San Antonio and El Camino Real! Plus there’s a new Safeway across the street! Of course the value is in the land; tear everything down and set up a pay for parking lot! Or build your own restaurant in that small rented cottage! (Wait, did you distrub occupants?)

Bunus round: Try maybe building that small home and see how you fare against the Los Altos Planning Department!

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:04 am






June 18, 2013

Lotsa Listing Lunacy in Los Altos!

Let’s take a look at this lovely lienhold in Los Altos. Today’s featured property brings us lots of great photography.  That is if by great we mean some other word, such as “quaint” or “challenging” or perhaps “well-meant.”  Thanks very much to Burbed reader littleoldlady from RBA.

And since this place is already in contract, Redfin isn’t showing it anymore. Helloooooo, Trulia!

130617-morton-redfin1650 Morton Ave
Los Altos, CA 94024
$1,388,000

4 bed / 3 full bath
2,588 sqft
Single-Family Home
Active Contingent
$6,215 / mo
25 days on Trulia
Built in 1955
Neighborhood: South Los Altos
MLS/Source ID: 81317816

1650 Morton Ave DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH-UPGRADE TO YOUR TASTE! This home was extensively remodeled and expanded in 2000. A guest room wing with two separate entrances was added and much of the original house was rebuilt. The finishes and details need attention, but the bones are 130617-morton-hardwoodgood. If you have the vision to imagine your own finishes and colors in place, you could polish this into the gem of the neighborhood, and what a fine neighborhood it is. The kitchen features maple cabinets and a comfortable breakfast area. Granite slab counters would complete the kitchen makeover (and we have a bid of just under $10,000 to supply and install… these). The bathrooms are dated; in fact, the guest bath is so dated it is 1950′s retro! The 130617-morton-kitchenhouse would benefit from interior paint, new windows, extending the wide plank hardwood floors from the living/dining areas or adding new carpet, and bathroom updating. Located on a spacious corner lot of over 10,000 feet, the parcel includes two majestic redwoods, three mature oaks, and three soap bark trees. The trees are near the property perimeter so you can develop the rest of the parcel as you choose. The landscape details and final design are up to you. Priced to allow the new owner the ability to integrate all the details and finishes you desire and still enjoy a valuable acquisition.

130617-morton-paintNow that is one chatty agent. This one went on for more than three picture’s worth of listing copy! Can you imagine having to get in the car and go on a house tour with that dude?  You’ll be glad you brought your earbuds!  Now let’s hear from LOL RBA.

Now wait… I have noticed a pattern in Los Altos. Every nice house gets listed for $1495, or $1498… Then sell then sells for $1750 – $1800. 130617-morton-tileEvery not so nice house gets listed for $1150 and sells for around $1300. What on earth is this terrifying listing? Rebuilt in 2000? Wha’?? What did they rebuild? And is this a nice house, destined to sell for $1750 (um…no) or a not so nice house that will sell for $1300, thereby getting no overbids? Regardless, the house will be in escrow within 7 days, like everything else in the RBA.

I love your blog. My favorite stop with my morning coffee. Your fan.  Sent from my iPad

You know you’re in the Real Bay Area when even the little old ladies correspond with an iPad. And LOL-RBA was correct about the 7 day escrow, or was it more like 7 minutes?

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

April 13, 2013

Location, Location, Location in Los Altos!

BlogAtoZ-LHappy Saturday and weekend! We’re one Letter Less than halfway through the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Remember blog Life before this Lunacy when a Lousy Los Gatos Lanai would Light up the comment thread? Yeah, we don’t either.

So we’ll play what’s Laid, and that’s this Lulu of a Listing in Los Altos with a Likely Large Lot.

130412-sanantonio-redfin757 N SAN ANTONIO Rd
Los Altos, CA 94022
$1,199,000

3 Beds
2 Baths
1,330 Sq. Ft.
$902 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1952
Lot Size: 9,270 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 23 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
County: Santa Clara
Style: Ranch
Community: North Los Altos
MLS#: 81308943

Charming and welcoming Los Altos ranch home. Freshly painted inside and outside. Multiple recent upgrades: kitchen, roof, garage door, double pane windows, floors, etc. Award winning Los Altos Schools. Close to schools, shopping and restaurants.

Upcoming Open Houses

Saturday, Apr 13: 1:00-5:00 pm
Sunday, Apr 14: 1:00-5:00 pm

130412-sanantonio-landscapeLook, Listing Lusciousness is all Location, Location, Location. And this Location says it’s close to schools, shopping, and restaurants. Let’s Learn how Close.  Across the (very busy) street is Bullis Charter School, already Lovingly Lauded on this website! (And you know when we Lovingly Laud something, that means the exact opposite of Lovingly Laud.)

Like the Landscaping? This Low-maintenance approach not only saves time, money, and Liquids, you’ll never have to Lift a Limb watering the front Lawn. (That’s because it Lacks one.)

130412-sanantonio-kitchenLug yourself north and you’ll find the restaurants.  Lots of them. Actually you have Little choice about Leaning north; the Lean-to is on the northbound side of a divided four-Lane thoroughfare.

Other than that, why hasn’t this Locale sold in 23 days, in this Lava-hot market? The Listing agent already Lowered the price at Least 14%!

Let us know if you Look in at the Open House this weekend!

Comments (2) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

January 14, 2013

Home Buying: Comps, Mortgage Pre-qual, and Letter Writing

Can there be any question that The Bubble is Back? Buyers are returning to that delightful 2005 method: the Begging Letter. It must be true, because it’s in a newspaper.

Can I Buy Your House, Pretty Please?

By JOANN S. LUBLIN, The Wall Street Journal, January 10, 2013

Rob and Julia Israch won a fierce bidding war for a three-bedroom townhouse in Mountain View, Calif., late last year even though their $750,000 offer—while $92,000 above the asking price—was topped by 11 rivals and was several thousand dollars below the highest bid.

A key reason: The seller, software engineer Lev Stesin, was moved by a letter in which the Israchs said they worked in the technology industry and explained how the home’s spacious layout would be perfect given the imminent arrival of their first child. Among other things, the townhouse has three bathrooms, a wood-burning fireplace and a roomy backyard.

The only problem with this real estate story is the author’s contention that it isn’t just happening where it’s Special, namely Mountain View. Pitch letters are also going to sellers in Seattle, San Diego, suburban Chicago, and Washington D.C. Hah, and you thought we were going to say Belmont or something. No, we really meant places where it isn’t Special at all (e.g. where you can make an offer and be the only one! Redfin’s CEO said 95% of the offers their agents made in Silicon Valley had competing offers.)

The WSJ piece included two examples of House Begging Letters that worked. Both were from Silicon Valley buyers. Here’s one.

Note the use of photos. Don’t beg without them. Also don’t house beg with form letters. You’re going to have to write an individual letter for each seller, calling attention to their home’s marvelous features. Comments such as “Of all the 1954 era crapboxes we looked at today, yours had the fewest pet odors and the least offensive paint scheme” will probably not be effective. Some tips:

  • Remind the seller how attractive your offer is. You could write this note on the back of a hundred dollar bill to show how many more you have waiting.
  • Mention all the things you have in common with the seller, so they identify with you and not any of those other Less Special buyers. If you can’t find the sellers on social media, a good private detective can ferret that info out. Or spend some of those C-notes on the gabbiest neighbors.
  • Gush about their house and neighborhood without overdoing it. Otherwise they’ll figure you’re using irony. After all, it is one of several hundred 1954 era crapboxes in the tract. But — close to Google! (Don’t mention this if they tried and failed to get jobs there.)
  • Describe your difficult house hunt without sounding whiny. If you can fake sincerity here, you’ll have it made:

A few years ago, the owners of an older Los Altos home got more than 21 offers and picked the one from a woman who also submitted a love letter from her dog, said Kathy Bridgman, an Alain Pinel Realtors agent who represented the sellers. “She won’t touch a thing,” promised the letter, signed with a paw print. “I will be able to play in the yard.”

After closing, the buyer immediately tore down the home and built a bigger one.

Note: In case you’re noticing that we’ve repeatedly reformatted this piece, you’re correct. Our blogging tools aren’t as compatible with each other as we wish they were.  In this particular case, one tool supports photo captions but won’t strip styles out properly, the other is the reverse.  Don’t even get us started on what WordPress is doing to both of them.

Comments (14) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

November 8, 2012

Two mirror image suites in Basements; two detached oversized

And — holy cow, it’s Friday already.  How about something aspirational for those of you with some seriously studly stock options?  Check out this little lulu in Los Altos!  Thanks very much to long-time Burbed reader/first-time caller RM for this find.

121108-holly-redfin1380 HOLLY Ave
Los Altos, CA 94024
$3,495,000

6 Beds 
6.5 Baths 
4,559 Sq. Ft.
$767 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2009 
Lot Size: 0.28 Acres 
On Redfin: 20 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
View: Mountains, Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara
Stories: 2
Community: South of El Monte
MLS#: 81238438

Quality built architect designed custom home. Features top rated Los Altos School. incl. Oak Ave School. Close to schools and park. Easy access to hwy 85,Foothill & 280.Gourmet Kitchen Overlooking rear Patio, Great master suite. Two Bedroom suites on main floor & Two Mirror Image Suites in Basements. Spacious Livingroom w/ Vaulted ceilings. 4 car garage two car attached two detached oversized.

121108-holly-kitchenThis was built in 2009?  Srsly?  Just a casual glance gave me all these 1974 tingles.  Now, let’s hear from RM on why this house belongs on the front page.

This is a very odd house for sale in my neighborhood. Garage in the center of the house, two basement bedroom suites, and a giant detached garage in the back, with no paving for the driveway to the back. (And no pictures.) Lap pool combined with swimming pool in a very constrained space.

121108-holly-satelliteCheck out the google maps for a good overhead view of the oddness. And confetti colored tile in the kitchen and baths. Whoever buys it will be really sorry if they do not remove the redwood by the front driveway, or if they pay $3,495,000.

Wait, there’s a pool?  Is it in the Basements?

When did “confetti tile” become A Thing?  Didn’t we ran a house recently that had the same fascinating design choice?  Well, there was this.

Alas, this Quality built architect designed custom home is 441 square feet too small to merit the ginormous tag.

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 9:08 pm

October 25, 2012

Coals to Newcastle in Los Altos: Opportunity Abounds

We’ve featured a lot of flips on Burbed.  Today’s front-paged fortress is a flip, but that isn’t what brought it to our attention.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Swan for this luscious LOLapalooza in Los Altos!

121024-newcastle-redfin-flip1998 NEWCASTLE Dr
Los Altos, CA 94024
$1,498,000

3 Beds
2 Baths
1,700 Sq. Ft.
$881 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1956
Lot Size: 10,450 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 21 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Community: South of El Monte
MLS#: 81236495
Stories: 1
County: Santa Clara

Stunning one-of-a-kind home with custom details and top of the line finishes. Sits on huge corner lot, with room to expand in the future. Mahogany doors, windows and cabinets, travertine patios and flooring, hardwood planked flooring, marble bathroom surrounds, luscious backyard with fountain and room for entertaining. Great schools, close to freeways. This will be your dream estate!

“Dream estate” may be overstating things a little, especially when you get a look at the outside of the house.  Okay, overstating it a lot.  The inside of the redone house looks nice, but the outside is kind of meh.

But as far as the before pictures, go, this is a dream Burbed property.  Voilà!

121024-newcastle-redfin-old1998 NEWCASTLE Dr
Los Altos, CA 94024
$1,025,000
Sold 6/22/12 for $1,015,000

3 Beds
2 Baths
1,698 Sq. Ft.
$598 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1956
Lot Size: 10,450 Sq. Ft.
Sold On: Jun 22, 2012
Status: Sold
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
County: Santa Clara
Style: Ranch
Community: South of El Monte
MLS#: 81217356

Fixer in beautiful neighborhood. Good bones within this 3 bedroom, 2 bath home that sits on a 10,000 + sq ft lot. Built in the ’50′s it has some charming features that just aren’t found in new construction today. Opportunity abounds.

121024-newcastle-wheelchairLet’s listen in as Swan explains further:

Here’s a link to a house in Los Altos which sold last spring.  I meant to send it in as it deserves the Burbed Housekeeping Seal of Approval.  Love the wheelchair.  Love the basketballs on the floor.  Love the peeling paint on the outside of the house.

Of course someone bought the house, flipped it, and wants $1.5 million for it.

Definitely cleaned up and better looking than before.  However, if you look at street view of the old house, and the realtard’s pictures of the new house, don’t you think they re-used the garage door?  Really?  For all that effort, they couldn’t buy a new garage door?

121024-newcastle-streetview121024-newcastle-front-new

The (old) Streetview peek is on the left.  Here’s an extreme close-up of the garage doors… after the break.  Plus more photos!

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Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

October 2, 2012

Los Altos Hills: More money, less effort

If you’re looking for a house, or simply enjoy looking at houses, sometimes you may think that they all are starting to look alike. (Well, except for yesterday’s featured folly.)  Today we find out it’s true, courtesy of Burbed reader Dr. Jim.  The doctor is in, and he wants this Los Altos Hills listing to say “Ahh, instant equity!”

27540 Sherlock Rd
Los Altos, CA 94022
$1,649,000

121001-sherlock-zillow-27540Zestimate® $1,655,794
Est. Mortgage $5,754/mo
Beds: 4
Baths: 3
Sqft: 2,056
Lot: 119,790 sq ft / 2.75 acres
Type: Single Family
Year built: 1952
On Zillow: 130 days
MLS #: 81219574
View Virtual Tour (opens new tab)

Private Retreat on 2.75 Acres with views out to the Bay! 2 level home with opportunity to remodel or expand. Wrap around front deck showcasing the view, paneled cathedral ceilings with exposed beams, spacious rear deck and patio with spa and fire pit. 4.2 kW solar panels (6400 kWh per year) supply much of the home’s electricity & heat the hot tub. Excellent Los Altos schools!

121001-sherlock-wtfSince we had to showcase one property, we chose the 540.  Any listing that doesn’t lead with the front of the house must have a problem somewhere.  It’s peppered with photos (like these) that we suspect are not to be found anywhere on those 2.75 acres.

Now here’s what the doc had to say about this precious pair of properties:

I’m still enjoying Burbed immensely.

121001-sherlock-la-highHere are a couple of listings in Los Altos Hills that use the same picture for the purported view.  Perhaps we should cut the realtor some slack because the street name is the same. 

However, he is looking at $100k in commission for these two babies, so I’m not cutting him any slack!  I think the street name is very appropriate, given my incisive powers of observation!

 

121001-sherlock--27223 121001-sherlock-27540

No ship, Sherlock! Click on either picture to observe the Zillow listings for yourself.  The photos are #13 for 27223 and #10 for 27540.  Also the former had a $100K haircut so far.  Just sayin’.

We note a couple other curiosities besides the matching photos (which may not be on either property).

1. According to Redfin, these properties are in Los Altos Hills.  But the Zillow entry states they are in Los Altos.  One of them rejects your realty and subdivides its own!

2. Speaking of Redfin, only 27223 is listed, and the duplicate photo has mysteriously been removed from the collection.  27540 is not to be confused with 27640 Sherlock Court. (which looks like it needs a big ol’ Burbed hug of its own someday).

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

September 26, 2012

It’s like living in Manhattan, but in Los Altos

169 CUESTA Dr
Los Altos, CA 94022
$449,000

169quest

Thanks to Burbed reader LJ for this find! Here’s what LJ had to say:

Yes, it’s new-ish, and yes, it’s in swanky Los Altos, but it’s a frickin’ studio! Not sure how they can get away with listing it as a 1 bedroom. I always thought "Junior One Bedroom" is realtard-speak for "big studio", except that this one is not really that big at 388sqft.

And the sad part is that you could probably cover 90% of your cash flow by renting this one out to a Google or Facebook employee, who is single, and maybe also tiny, and not prone to claustrophobia, which I get just by looking at the pictures. At first I thought, wow they really crammed a lot of furniture in there, but then I looked at the data and saw how small it was. Also, I thought the foldable bed (pictures 8/9) was a nice touch, gives it a NYC big city charm, deep in RBA suburbia.

Did someone say Murphy Bed (aka Foldable bed)?

20120925c

YES! YES! YES!

At $1,157 per square foot, this housing unit represents the pinnacle, the paragon, the pagoda, the pinterest, of all that is good in the Bay Area.

Everyone stop what you are doing! This is what we want. I know that if we all work together, we can make all the homes in the Bay Area this expensive. Yes we can do better!

By the way…

20120925b

Yes, this place apparently comes with an alarm to protect all your valuables. BONUS!

Comments (6) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:54 am

September 1, 2012

We’re Number One! We’re Number One!

Here’s a cheery news item, submitted by Burbed reader wahnny.

Silicon Valley’s Boom Creates Shortage of $1 Million Homes

120831-cnbc-losaltosPublished: Wednesday, 29 Aug 2012 | 10:22 AM ET
By: Robert Frank, CNBC Reporter & Editor

The home of venture capitalist Kelly Porter in Los Altos, photo, right.

The capital of high tech is now the capital of high-priced real estate.

Silicon Valley currently leads the nation in the number of homes sold for $1 million or more, according to Realtytrac. Sales of $1 million-plus have more than doubled in many communities in the Valley this year, toppling longtime luxury real-estate leaders like Beverly Hills or Miami.

Topping the list is Saratoga, Calif., in Santa Clara County, which had 225 homes sold for $1 million or more. That marked a 162 percent increase over last year.

Ranked second was Burlingame, Calif., which had 211 sales of at least $1 million, more than double last year’s rate. Cupertino and Los Altos ranked third and fourth in the nation, with 175 homes and 170 homes respectively.

Booyah!  We lead the nation in million dollar homes.  Sayonara, Scarsdale!  Meet you later, Miami gator!  Buh-bye, Beverly Hills!  Buh-… there’s just one problem with this article.

CNBC is comparing Silicon Valley to other “longtime luxury real-estate leaders.”  And up there on millionaire’s row is… Cupertino?  That’s not exactly the first town that comes to mind when we think “palatial estate.”

We don’t think this CNBC reporter understands the Real Bay Area.  Any region can feature a town full of luxury homes, towns like Atherton or Hillsborough, only somewhere that isn’t very Special.  You can find some real big, expensive estates in cities such as Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (boyhood home of Mitt Romney), or Winnetka, Illinois, or Greenwich, Connecticut.  Or Beverly Hills.

But only in the Real Bay Area can you find crappy houses for a million dollars.  Observe.

First, we look at Saratoga, since there were so many million dollar homes on the list they couldn’t find one to feature in the article (they just noted you could buy 1.2 acres with no house for more than a mill).  Find out what that same price gets you with a house… after the break.

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Comments (38) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:12 am

August 5, 2012

Huge Charter School Controversy in the RBA (tl;dr warning)

120804-bullis-cartoonWe haven’t been shy about sharing our educational “reform” position with you: we distrust the charter school movement.  We believe they are a means for private corporations to strip school boards of their resources and teachers of their benefits by providing cut-rate education under the false flag of “school choice.”  After all, corporations exist to make a profit.  Would you really want your child’s education outsourced to the lowest bidder?  Of course not!  That’s why you’ll pay anything to live in the Real Bay Area!

Charter Schools’ Negative Impact on the Educational System

120804-bullis-protestCharter schools are being implemented all across the country, whether parents want them or not.  This is happening because some very wealthy people, not one of them with any education background, see this as a way to profit at the expense school boards and teachers unions.  Much of the current “school reform” movement has been taken over by tons of money from foundations from the Walton (Walmart), Gates (Microsoft) and Broad (construction and insurance) families and, of course, the Koch brothers.  These groups have completely derailed real school reform in favor of their plan to corporatize our educational system.

All that money crowds out real reform in favor of forcing charter schools, despite their lackluster performance despite their ability to cherry-pick students.  There are stories everywhere of neighborhood schools forced to close, fire all the teachers and administrators, and then reopen as charters, despite complete opposition from the affected teachers, parents and children.  Needless to say, this is most likely to happen where parents are not well-represented in the political system.  That is, this process is most likely to happen in poorer neighborhoods rather than wealthy suburbs.  Remember Waiting for Superman (which is, of course, pure propaganda)?  The Bay Area school in the film was in Redwood City.  And look at all the corporate charter schools that have popped up in Oakland and San Jose.

Click on through to find out what happens next.

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Comments (20) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am